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The Ugly Reality Of Q1 Earnings

Takeaway: What do declining corporate profits mean for U.S. equities?

The Ugly Reality Of Q1 Earnings - earnings cartoon 04.12.2016 


It's shaping up to be a nasty quarter for corporate profits.


In a note sent to subscribers earlier this morning, the Hedgeye Macro team provides some early insights on how earnings season is shaping up thus far: 


"It’s early in earnings season, but we got an early look at tough comps in commodity land (Monsanto and Agrium have both comped down double digits on top and bottom line). Alcoa fired 1,000 people globally in the process.


One of the key call-outs in our macro deck was that S&P 500 companies face tough comps for Q1 and Q2 (8 of 10 sectors comped higher in Q1 2015), with the flow through sparking the big question: with forward-looking earnings being taken down, what multiple will the market slap on declining forward looking expectations?"


For more, in the video below, Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough explains why "we are vigilantly bearish on corporate earnings and junk bonds" while tearing down the latest permabull narrative that a weaker U.S. dollar will lead to “widespread earnings beats.”



What does it all mean investors?


If the ugly earnings picture holds, Q1 will be the third consecutive quarter of negative corporate profits. Look out below equity investors! Here's the must-see chart:


The Ugly Reality Of Q1 Earnings - EL profits


COMPANY NEWS               

WYNN -  72,851 shares were transferred at an average price of $98.78 btw WYNN's family trust through Form 4

  • The footnotes state that the transactions reflect "a substitution of cash for shares held by a trust previously established by Wynn" and the noted share values reflect the price "used for valuing the transferred shares for purposes of the asset substitution provisions". 


RCL - For the first time ever, Royal Caribbean will position two ships in its Cape Liberty, Bayonne cruise port. Both Anthem of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas will sail Caribbean itineraries during the summer of 2017.  Rhapsody of the Seas will sail seven-night Bahamas cruises and a five-night Canada and New England cruise in the summer. It also will sail a 12-night fall foliage cruise and 13-night Southern Caribbean cruise before repositioning to Tampa for the winter. Anthem of the Seas will continue to call at Bermuda, the Bahamas and Caribbean throughout the summer, in addition to sailing a offering of Canada and New England cruises.  

 Takeaway: Could see slightly higher exposure to the Caribbean in 2017.


RCL (TUI CRUISES) - Thomson Cruises has announced that its new addition will be named TUI Discovery as part of the re-brand which will see the whole of Thomson transition to TUI over the next eighteen months. The update on TUI Discovery comes as Thomson Cruises also announces its new program for summer 2017 which will see the fleet based in the western Mediterranean, eastern Mediterranean and the UK for the first time since 2014.  TUI Discovery and Thomson Majesty will both be based in Palma, Majorca whilst Thomson Dream will sail from Corfu.  Thomson Spirit will move to Dubrovnik, Croatia and offer adult-only cruising while the fifth ship in the fleet, Thomson Celebration, will split its summer between Malaga, Spain in May and October and ex UK sailings from Newcastle between June and September.  


CCL - Announced that it has declared a dividend of $0.35 per share, an increase of 17%.  "The increase in our quarterly dividend follows a 20% increase less than a year ago and reflects our sustained earnings improvement and growing net cash flow which is forecasted to reach $4.5 billion in 2016," said Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer.  "The increased dividend, in combination with our current share re-purchase program, underscores our commitment to return value to our shareholders." The company's board of directors approved a record date for the quarterly dividend of May 27, 2016, and a payment date of June 17, 2016.

 Takeaway: CCL has enough cash for a div increase


NCLH - The luxury line Wednesday said it would become the first cruise operator to include business class flights to its ships in the fare for all customers.   The offer applies to all European, Asian and South American voyages where a customer would need to travel on an intercontinental flight in order to reach the ship or to return home.  Regent said the included business class flights would be available to and from 26 U.S. and Canadian gateway cities.  Even passengers in the lowest categories of cabins will be eligible for the included flights.  Regent bills itself as the most inclusive cruise line. It already includes shore excursions, fine wine and spirits, unlimited Internet access, prepaid gratuities, ground transfers and pre-cruise hotel stays in its fare.

Takeaway: One way Regent says competitive is to offer more freebies 


MSC CRUISES - MSC Cruises, as reported previously, will implement several new sales policies that make its terms less generous and more closely aligned with those offered by its competitors in North America.  Among the changes are its first policy restricting the practice of commission rebating, a rule in place for more than a decade at brands such as Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line.  “We want travel agents to advertise us at the going rate,” said Ken Muskat, the executive vice president of sales, public relations and guest services at MSC Cruises USA. “We want it to be fair across the board.”  The other policy changes include raising deposit minimums, making it harder to cancel cruises without a penalty, and setting a two-month window for passengers to move a direct booking to their agent’s account.  


MACAU | NEW JUNKET CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS - Macau’s government is working with gaming promoters on a proposal that would see capital requirements for new operators increasing 100-fold, according to people familiar with the matter. If passed, the move could further squeeze revenue for Wynn Macau Ltd. and other casino companies.  One proposal under consideration includes raising capital requirements for new junket operators to 10 million patacas ($1.3 million) from 100,000 patacas, and the inclusion of at least one Macau resident as a shareholder, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.   

Takeaway: Given the tough environment, the question is who is interested today in becoming a new junket operator? 


MACAU | TOURIST PRICE INDEX - DSEC indicated that the Tourist Price Index for the first quarter of 2016 decreased further by 6.67% YoY to 136.44, attributable to lower charges for hotel accommodation, and reduced prices of handbags and women’s clothing. Price index of Accommodation decreased most significantly by 23.80% YoY, followed by Entertainment & Cultural Activities (-2.35%) and Clothing & Footwear (-1.98%). On the contrary, price index of Food, Alcoholic Drinks & Tobacco increased by 3.77% and that of Transport & Communications rose by 2.31%. 


MACAU | MASTER CARD ASIAPAC DESTINATION INDEX - The first MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index tracking the growth of the region’s tourism doesn’t include Macau in its top 20 for overnight tourist arrivals and tourists’ expenditures.  The study is the first MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index - an offshoot of the annual Global Destination Cities Index - to take a more in-depth focused look at these tourism trends, taking data from the national tourism boards of 22 countries and ranking 167 destinations, including island resorts as well as towns and cities across the region, in terms of the total number of international overnight arrivals; cross-border spending; and the total number of nights spent in each destination.  According to MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index, Hong Kong ranked 7th with 8.3 million international overnight visitors, Shangai ranked 12th with 5.5 million overnight visitors, Beijing was 18th with 4 million, and Guangdong Province (excluding Guangzhou, Shenzhen & Zhuhai) ranked 19th with 3.9 million visitors.  Macau's dependence on Chinese visitation is the main reason they didn't break the top 20 on the index.   


SINGAPORE | INTEREST RATE CUT - Singapore's central bank unexpectedly eased policy on Thursday after growth stalled in the first quarter and as slackening global demand darkened the outlook for the trade-dependent economy, sending the local dollar tumbling to its worst loss in eight months.  In its third policy easing in 15 months, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it will set the rate of appreciation of the Singapore dollar NEER policy band at zero percent - starting on Thursday - and shift to a neutral policy stance.  It marked the first time the MAS has moved to 'neutral' since the global financial crisis, and compares with its previous policy stance of a "modest and gradual" appreciation of the Singapore dollar.

Takeaway: Despite the easing of policy, the USD/SGD has moved lower YTD by 4%. 


GAMING | BATON ROUGE SMOKING BAN -  The Baton Rouge Metro Council narrowly rejects smoking ban for bars, casinos; long debate touches on health, morality, business climate.  Casino executives from L’Auberge Casino and Hotel, Hollywood Casino and the Belle of Baton Rouge showed up in full force and tried to quell concerns about their employees’ well-being.  Mickey Parenton, the senior vice president of operations and general manager of L’Auberge, insisted his No. 1 priority is his employees. He said if an employee complains about smoke, he would move the employee to a smoke-free part of L’Auberge without a change in pay.  Casino executives said they would expect about a 20% drop in revenue if the ordinance passed. New Orleans banned smoking in casinos and bars a year ago, and council members and people attending Wednesday’s meeting squabbled over how much that smoking ban is to blame for declining revenues at Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino. 


NEVADA | UNEMPLOYMENT/EMPLOYMENT DATA - The state’s jobless rate came in at 5.8%, down from 5.9% in February and 6.9% in March 2015, the state Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Department reported Wednesday.  Much of the improvement came from job growth. Employers expanded payrolls by 2.8% YoY, for the nation’s third-best job-formation rate.  Nevada’s employers added 35,500 jobs year to year, for the 63rd straight month of gains. March was also the 44th consecutive month in which the state’s annual job growth outpaced the nation’s, said Bill Anderson, the employment department’s chief economist.


LODGING | AFRICAN HOTEL DEVELOPMENT - Despite slowed growth across the continent, Africa remains a major hospitality destination for tourists and business so investors are planning 30% more hotels this year than they did in 2015, says a new report.  The spike in hotel development on the continent is mostly driven by sub-Saharan Africa where growth more than doubles the rate in North Africa, according to W Hospitality Group which tracks the growth rate of expansion for regional and international hotel chains in Africa. The slowing hotel development growth rates in Northern Africa, asides from the sociopolitical crises in Egypt and Libya, is due to the market being “more mature” says Trevor Ward, managing director of W Hospitality Group.  In contrast, sub-Saharan Africa remains still holds gaps of opportunities which investors are clearly keen to explore. Nigeria tops the list of countries with the most planned hotels while Angola, buoyed by AccorHotels’ deal to build 50 hotels in the country, has risen to second place. While the report covers the hotel deals agreed for the year, the timeline for the construction and opening of these hotels is entirely different. Access to finance, among other reasons, have slowed down the execution of building plans. But the new deals signal long-term trust in the African hospitality industry despite the current economic outlook for leading economies on the continent.





Iowa SS GGR: +1.0% YoY 

  • BYD: +5.1% YoY
  • CZR: -1.0% YoY
  • ISLE: +3.0% YoY
  • PNK: +0.5% YoY

Atlantic City SS GGR: -1.7% YoY

  • BYD (Borgata): -4.0% YoY
  • CZR: -4.7% YoY

[UNLOCKED] Early Look: Gentlemanly Bears

Editor's Note: The Early Look below was written by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough one week ago. It discusses how "large components of the US economy already in a recession" and why "the US economic and profit cycle won’t even have a chance of putting in a rate of change (cycle) bottom until Q2 which, candidly, won’t be reported until Q3." Click here to get the Early Look delivered in your inbox weekday mornings.


*  *  *  *


“It meant being reasonable, tolerant, honest, virtuous, and candid.”

-Gordon Wood


As I push into my early 40s, I’d like to think a Gentlemanly Bear can be thought of that way inasmuch as a Gentlemanly Bull can be. After all, sometimes (when GDP growth is slowing) gentlemen prefer being bullish on long-term bonds!


In the latest history book I’ve cracked open, Revolutionary Characters, Gordon Wood used the aforementioned characteristics to describe America’s Founding Fathers. How well do you think they describe your economic, profit, or credit cycle resources?


Or are we all partisan now? Rate of change isn’t partisan. It’s honest math. And I think being candid about it accelerating or decelerating is, as Wood wrote, “an important 18th century characteristic that connoted being unbiased and just as well frank.” (pg 15)


[UNLOCKED] Early Look: Gentlemanly Bears - GDP cartoon 10.29.2015


Back to the Global Macro Grind


Yesterday we received more intermediate-term TREND (not to be confused with monthly or sequential immediate-term TRADE head-fakes) confirmation that the US economy is indeed well past the peak of the cycle:


  1. Having peaked at +3.8% y/y in JAN 2015, Real Consumer Spending was revised down -30bps to +2.6% growth for JAN 2016
  2. Having peaked at +13.1% y/y in APR 2015, US Pending Home Sales slowed to 0.7% year-over-year (y/y) in FEB of 2016


Sure, a growth bull might say “but, the consumer and housing are still strong parts of the US economy”… but a gentlemanly rate of change person like me would correct them by reminding them that rates of change continue to slow from their respective cycle peaks.


On economic cycle matters, saying things are “good” or “bad” means absolutely nothing to us; measuring and mapping whether things are getting better or worse is what matters most. We’re very reasonable and tolerant about all 2nd derivative debates.


While Real Consumer Spending isn’t crashing into a #Recession (that was never our call), there are large components of the US economy already in a recession (no you can’t “back out” Energy, Industrials, Cyclicals, Financials, etc.). That’s why:


  1. US Long-term Treasury Yields have dropped from 2.27% at the start of 2016 to 1.87% this morning
  2. The Yield Spread (10yr minus 2yr Yield) is right around cycle lows at 100 basis points wide
  3. High Yield Spreads remain elevated and rising (above the recessionary signal of its historical mean)


Yes, the commercial and industrial (C&I) side of the economy matters inasmuch as the consumption and real estate cycle will if these rates of change in both consumer spending and housing demand continue to slow.


By the time it’s all slowed to cycle lows, you start buying again.


Let me say that differently. If you’ve been positioned properly for the last 3-6 months (instead of last 3-6 weeks), once the entire cycle has slowed to its slowest rate of change, you’ll actually start selling what you already own:


  1. Long-term Treasuries (TLT) = +7.8% YTD
  2. Utilities (XLU) = +12.6% YTD
  3. Gold (GLD) = +15.1% YTD


And then you’ll probably start buying the classic #LateCycle things (lower) that you shouldn’t have owned from last year’s cycle peak (note: all 3 of these US Equity Style Factors have underperformed Energy YTD – so you definitely don’t want to “back out” Energy):


  1. Consumer Discretionary (XLY) = -0.3% YTD
  2. Financials (XLF) = -6.1% YTD
  3. Healthcare (XLV) = -6.7% YTD


I know. I know. The YTD performance isn’t “as bad” as this Gentlemanly Bear sounds. But, as you know, staring at a month-end markup performance snapshot can be very risky. Remember “stocks” ramped +6% from the FEB low to MAR 2008 high too…


Again, not that things being “bad” matter as much as things getting better or worse do. But wow is this Atlanta Fed “GDP Now” model getting ugly. How a GDP “forecast” goes from +2.7% GDP only a month ago to +0.6% today is beyond me, to be quite frank!


We’re sticking with what was the Street’s low Q1 US GDP forecast of 1% (our predictive tracking algorithm and mapping/measurement #process has been accurate, within 25-50 basis points, on GDP for the last 5 quarters – without the 200bps intra-quarter swings!).


And, more importantly, we’re reiterating that the US economic and profit cycle won’t even have a chance of putting in a rate of change (cycle) bottom until Q2 which, candidly, won’t be reported until Q3.


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 1.84-1.97%

SPX 1984-2059
RUT 1060-1107

NASDAQ 4699-4828
EUR/USD 1.10-1.13

Gold 1205-1275


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


[UNLOCKED] Early Look: Gentlemanly Bears - 03.29.16 chart

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Eurozone, Earnings and Japan

Client Talking Points


Got inflation?  #Nope!  Eurozone CPI picked up 1.2% in March M/M but remains grounded at 0.0% Y/Y. We continue to pound the table via our Q2 2016 Macro Theme #BeliefSystem that ECB President Mario Draghi can’t bend economic gravity and a 2.0% inflation target over the intermediate term is pipe dream.  #FadingHope.


It’s early in earnings season, but we got an early look at tough comps in commodity land (Monsanto and Agrium have both comped down double digits top and bottom line). Alcoa fired 1,000 people globally in the process. One of the key call-outs in our macro deck was that S&P 500 companies face tough comps for Q1 and Q2 (8 of 10 sectors comped higher in Q1 2015), with the flow through sparking the big question: with forward-looking earnings being taken down, what multiple will the market slap on declining forward looking expectations?  


The Japanese yen’s -1% decline to the mid-109’s on the USD cross in the WTD has been good for a major squeeze higher in the Nikkei this week. Today’s massive +3.2% rally puts the index up +6.9% WTD with one more day of trading to go. In a speech at Colombia University yesterday, BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda doubled down on NIRP by highlighting how it “boosts the effects of existing policy measures by directly pushing down the short-end of the yield curve”. Despite this week’s spectacular gains, the Nikkei more-or-less remains in crash mode down -19.3% from its peak last June and we think it’ll take more than jawboning to perpetuate a series of lower-highs in the yen and higher-lows in the Nikkei from here. We expect the pressure of decelerating trends across headline, core and producer price inflation – as well as long-term breakeven rates – to cause the BoJ to add to its easing measures at its April 27-28 meeting. Will additional easing in Japan be met with additional repudiation of the central planning #BeliefSystem, or will Japan simply export this growing lack of faith to U.S. markets via a stronger dollar?

Asset Allocation


Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration

McDonald's (MCD) hit another all-time high last week. As we continue to reiterate, the company has all the style-factors that we like – high market cap, low beta and liquidity. Stick with it.


We are going to be looking at a much different company 1-3 years from now. Urgency has been instilled from the top down by new CEO Steve Easterbrook. He wants more speed and is encouraging people to get things done faster. The food and experience provided to the customer will greatly improve over the coming months as “Experience the Future” is implemented across the system. It won’t be instantaneous though, as MCD has a lot of work to do around changing the perception to bring back customers it may have lost.


Things like All Day Breakfast, responsibly sourced ingredients, and bringing back the value proposition will lead to increased sales and customer satisfaction. While this company is too big to be completely fixed overnight, management has the right plans in place. We are confident in where they are headed.


We recently completed a granular, deep dive study demonstrating that all classes of volatility including equity, fixed income, and FX have been managed lower by a U.S. Central Bank engineering a historically abnormal quantitative easing policy over the past 7 years.


What does this mean and what are the implications? Well, with Quantitative Easing over (for now) and the Federal Reserve on a rate hiking policy path (for now), for the first time in a long time there is a reason to hedge bond and equity exposure. CME is one of the few venues that allows both institutional and retail investors to do exactly that. The company manages the entire Treasury futures curve and also most of the equity index futures in the U.S.


In this late cycle economic environment, CME Group (CME) has a solid earnings trajectory. The exchange continues to benefit from all 3 legs of the exchange stool including incremental volatility; incremental participants coming into its markets; and also new product introduction. Over the course of the next 12 months, we think the earnings opportunity will jump and the path to more than $5 per share in earnings will become more obvious.


We outlined our expectation and outlook moving into Q2 last Thursday in our quarterly macro themes presentation for institutional clients. The first of the three themes was labeled #TheCycle:


With the recessionary industrial data ongoing, employment, income and consumption growth decelerating, corporate profits facing a 3rd quarter of negative growth and Commercial and Industrial credit tightening, the domestic economic, profit and credit cycles are all past peak and continue to traverse their downslope. With this cyclical backdrop, the U.S. economy faces its toughest GDP comp of the cycle in 2Q16”….


The takeaway is that the economy faces a difficult GDP comp (growth rate) in Q2 within the continued late-cycle slowdown. 

Three for the Road


VIDEO: A great discussion about the decline of material culture in my new @Hedgeye segment "About Everything" https://app.hedgeye.com/insights/50184-about-everything-a-perfect-storm-of-trends-points-to-less-interest-i



To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.

Mary Oliver   


The White House will redirect $589 million (predominantly from funds allocated to fight Ebola) toward fighting the Zika virus, with additional funding requested from Congress.

CHART OF THE DAY: More Evidence Of Investors Losing Faith In Central Planners

Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt and chart from today's Early Look written by Hedgeye U.S. Macro analyst Christian Drake. Click here to learn more.


"... As the Chart of the Day below illustrates, with swap rates, inflation expectations and growth estimates falling, currencies appreciating and European and Asian equities still in crash mode off their respective highs in the face of the latest quantitative and qualitative easing announcements, investors are believing that conditions are as bad as policy makers suggest but are in increasing disbelief of their ability to do anything about it."


CHART OF THE DAY: More Evidence Of Investors Losing Faith In Central Planners - CoD inflation Expectations


“And, for your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering  …. on biggering and Biggering and BIGGERING and BIGGERING.”

- The Once-ler, from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss


“Look”,  said the Ease-ler, “There’s no cause for alarm

I bought just one bond. I am doing no harm

I’m being quite useful.  This thing is called Easing.

An Easing’s a Fine-Something-The-1%-Finds-Pleasing.

It’s a Bill.  It’s a Bond.  It drives global flows.

But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond those. 

It can boost inequality and the suppression of risk

Or financial repression and bear markets in VIX ….


… I meant no harm. I most truly did not

But it had to grow bigger.  So bigger it got. 

I biggered my balance sheet, I biggered my ZIRP

I biggered my QE, I biggered my NIRP.

I biggered the yield chase, I biggered the need

To bigger the #BeliefSystem on which it all feeds.” 


I’m quite enjoying macro remixing this Dr. Seuss classic this morning but I’ll leave it there. 


Indeed, while I switched out the nouns, I left the spirit of the Once-ler’s original message fully intact.


After all, it’s really only once(-ler) that one gets the chance to take yields from 20% to sub-zero – alongside peak demographics, peak growth in labor participation and peak leverage – in a 30 year run of consumption pull-forward’ing.


Then, my poor Bar-ba-loots, as the multi-decade policy to inflate reaches its terminal end:  


economies start getting the crummies

because they have deflation, and no growth, in their tummies! 


THE EASE-LER - the lorax


Back to the Global Macro Grind


Q: The currency of a country with a balance-of-trade surplus and relative deflation should do what?

A: Appreciate. 


That’s Fx 101 but the dynamics around it are part and parcel of the #BeliefSystem Central Bank’s helped cultivate and are now hostage to.   


Policy makers can bend economic gravity only to the extent the investing populous believes policy prowess is enough to overcome the gravity embedded in the underlying fundamental drivers.   


As the Chart of the Day below illustrates, with swap rates, inflation expectations and growth estimates falling, currencies appreciating and European and Asian equities still in crash mode off their respective highs in the face of the latest quantitative and qualitative easing announcements, investors are believing that conditions are as bad as policy makers suggest but are in increasing disbelief of their ability to do anything about it.


Moving on ….


Not too many people know this but I can #PredictThePresent. 


That’s right, I can NowCast the Cycle.  It’s both gift and curse.  Let me Illustrate:


In about 45 minutes from now we will get a continuation of the Trend acceleration in inflation.


Core CPI inflation accelerated for a 5th consecutive month in February, making a new 4-year high at +2.3% YoY.  With easier comps and the negative impacts of Strong-Dollar on core goods pricing slowly burning off, Headline CPI has shown a similar trajectory. 


Core Inflation may be +2.4% or +2.2% on the actual print this morning, it doesn’t really matter for contextualizing the prevailing reality which = Inflation is Rising. 


Pocket that positive slope on inflation for moment, we’ll come back to it.


Yesterday we got Retail Sales data to cap-off 1Q.  It was conspicuously underwhelming. 


While we knew the headline would be soft given the steep -5.6% MoM drop in unit auto sales (we get that figure at the beginning of the month) the balance of the sub-aggregates were similarly uninspiring.


Indeed, Retail Sales ex-Autos, ex-Autos & Gas and the “Control Group” all decelerated on both a year-over-year and 2Y average growth basis.


The Control Group (Retail Sales less Food, Auto’s, Gas & Building Materials), which feeds the GDP calculation, decelerated -60bps sequentially to +2.7% YoY.  Moreover, growth on a quarter-over-quarter annualized basis – which comports with how GDP is calculated/reported - was only +1.9%. 


Layer on the fact that Retail Sales are reported in nominal dollars (i.e. not adjusted for inflation) and that +1.9% deflates to something even less impressive in real terms.


Sure, Retail Sales only represents spending on Goods (~1/3 of total Household Spending) and Services consumption (~2/3 of total household spending) has captured a growing share of consumer spending in recent years but the two are strongly correlated and total consumption in Jan/Feb has matched the softness observed in Retail Sales.    


So to put this week’s data in context, we have:  Inflation Rising + Growth Slowing


I won’t say what that equals but it rhymes with “Magflation”  …. Not a policy or equity multiple friendly environment if it persists.  


Elsewhere in domestic data flow, we got inventory data for February yesterday which showed Business Inventories declining -0.1% sequentially with January revised to -0.1% (from +0.1%). 


It was really a lose-lose setup. 


In terms of GDP accounting, rising inventories adds to Investment so, superficially, it’s a positive for reported growth.  The converse obviously holds as well.


On the other hand, inventories have been growing at a premium to sales across the supply chain for over a year now and, in the absence of accelerating demand, that cumulating inventory = lower future profitability for businesses as they have to carry/management that burgeoning supply and discount to move it. 


Add the inventory drag on investment spending to the aforementioned growth and inflation realities and you get 1Q growth that is flirting with contraction …. And comps that only get tougher in 2Q.


I guess the larger takeaway here is this:  Central Bank omnipotence and late-cycle equity markets can go out like Kobe. 


60-point grand finale heroics are great but it doesn’t negate the fact that it is, indeed, the finale (and 20-years of greatness finished with a 17-win season).


To Trades, Trends and the wisdom to know the difference.  #MambaOut


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 1.68-1.81%

SPX 2035-2087

VIX 13.01-19.25
USD 93.94-95.42
YEN 106.94-111.07
Oil (WTI) 38.56-44.03


Best of luck out there today, 


Christian B. Drake

U.S. Macro Analyst


THE EASE-LER - CoD inflation Expectations

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